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The purpose of Geotechnical Logging is to collect the necessary geotechnical information in order to:
Describe the physical characteristics of the rock mass and major structures.
Classify the rock mass and major structures using industry standards

What is used for:

mine design
underground and open pit stability analysis,
ground support

Structure and rock mass data assists in the interpretation of:

regional and local ore body structural geology
mineralisation structures.

* The absolute minimum data parameters should be collected for exploration drill core, such as Core Recovery,
RQD, and Fracture Frequency. Once the core is cut for assay this information is lost.
Introduction cont.
Geotechnical information such as:
can indicate the stability of the structure - planar, smooth structure with soft infill is more likely to move than an irregular,
rough structure with no infill.

The orientation of a discontinuity can affect the direction of a tunnel while microfractures and veinlets
are used in block caving assessments.

Hydrological info:
ground water indicators along with cavities and joints can affect groundwater flow .

What Interval & Detail

The required detail of logging depends on the proposed mine environment. Logging for an underground
development and caveability studies requires detailed logging sometimes on short intervals.
Sometimes smaller intervals may be required in areas of disruption.
Collar Sheet
In the Collar sheet, the drillhole name and geotechnical logger details can be
edited. A new drillhole can be added by completing the HOLEID box and
changing the Update Mode to Insert Mode.
As outlined above, a standard logging interval can be set, which will be carried
across to all sheets to facilitate interval style logging. Domain style logging is
active without this setting allowing the logger to freely vary intervals across
sheets and between individual logged entries on a sheet. Note, even with a
preset interval selection, intervals are still editable on individual sheets.
Core Recovery

Core recovery is a quantifiable measurement defined as the total linear amount

of a core extracted over the total linear core run, expressed as a percentage.

CR (%) = (Length of core extracted/Length of core run) X 100

* core loss interval needs to be recorded as close as possible to the hole depth where loss has occurred.
RQD cont.
Measured as a percentage of the drill core in lengths of 10 cm or more

RQD and fracture frequency are used in rock mass characterisation.

Areas of low RQD reflect poor ground conditions and can indicate where the design requires modifying.
Low RQD often surrounds structures and can be use to correlate between holes.
RQD is also used in calculating Q values.

From the RQD index the rock mass can

be classified as follows:

RQD Rock Mass Quality

<25% very poor

25-50% poor

50-75% fair

75-90% good

90-100% excellent

* To match up Fracture Frequency calculations, RQD intervals need to be the same as

Discontinuity intervals
RQD - Measurement & calculation
GT Lithology and GT Alteration
In the event that lithology and alteration hasnt been logged by the geologists (as
exported and displayed in the window for Geology Lithology and Geology
Alteration Log), it is possible for the geotechnical engineer to log the lithology and
alteration into both sheets.
The lithology and alteration codes available conform to standard geology codes,
but may vary from site to site.
Drill core may vary significantly depending on the degree of weathering and
The transition from weathered rock to fresh rock is usually marked by a change
from coloured to more neutral hues (e.g. from pale or moderate yellow, brown or
orange hues to grey, green grey, dark grey-brown or near black colours):
commonly close to, or just below, the active redox front.


cw Completely Weathered: All rock material is decomposed and/or disintegrated to soil

Fresh: No visible sign of rock material weathering, perhaps slight discolouration on major defect
fr surfaces
hw Highly Weathered: More than half of the rock material is decomposed and/or disintegrated to soil

mw Moderately Weathered: Less than half of the rock material is decomposed and/or disintegrated to soil

na field not applicable - presence of void/fill

nl field not logged

sw Slightly Weathered: Discolouration indicates weathering rock material and defect surfaces
Weathering cont. - examples

Weathered rock Example of strongly weathered rock in drillcore

Rock Strength
Estimating rock mass strength remains one of the challenges facing geologists,
and geotechnical engineers. The infinite variability of geology, weathering and
alteration processes, the influence of mining and the inability to test rock mass
strength directly, all pose great challenges to making reliable estimates. The
experience, therefore, plays a crucial role in such estimates.
Intact rock strength is a major rock property. It is mostly defined as the strength
of the rock material between the discontinuities, and as such governs partially
the strength of a rock mass.

Clay Strong silicification

Strength cont.
Strength cont.


na field not applicable - presence of void/fill etc.

nl field not logged

R0 Extremely weak; [UCS] 0.25-1MPa Indented by thumbnail; Easily remoulded by hand to a material with soil properties

R1 Very weak; [UCS] 1-5Mpa Crumbles under firm blows of geological pick, can be shaped/peeled with knife
Weak; [UCS] 5-25MPa Knife cuts, but to hard to shape into triaxial specimens; Can be peeled with a knife with
R3 Medium strong; [UCS] 25-50MPa Firm blow with geological pick indents rock to 5 mm; knife just scrapes the surface

R4 Strong; [UCS] 50-100MPa Hand held specimens broken by a single blow of a geological hammer

R5 Very strong; [UCS] 100-250MPa Requires many blows of a geological hammer to break intact rock specimens

R6 Extremely strong; [UCS]>250MPa Rock material only chipped under repeated hammer blows, rings when struck

S1 Very Soft Clay; [UCS]<0.025MPa Easily penetrated several inches by fist

S2 Soft Clay; [UCS] 0.025-0.05MPa Easily penetrated several inches by thumb

S3 Firm Clay; [UCS] 0.05-0.10MPa Can be penetrated several inches by thumb with moderate effort

S4 Stiff Clay; [UCS] 0.10-0.25MPa Readily indented by thumb but penetrated only with great effort

S5 Very Stiff Clay; [UCS] 0.25-0.50MPa Readily indented by thumbnail

S6 Hard Clay; [UCS] >0.50MPa Indented with difficulty by thumbnail

Table with Strength Descriptions


Any observations made on the hydrogeology from the core should be recorded;
yellow-brown and orange zones appearing lower in the profile can indicate old
redox frontsgenerally related to paleo or perched water tables.


H1 No signs: No visible sign of water present

Staining: Staining indicating flowing or
fluctuating ground water
H3 Dissolved: Indications of dissolved minerals

H4 Vugs: Presence of vugs or beehive cavities

na field not applicable - presence of void/fill

nl field not logged

Beehive cavities indicating areas where ground water

has dissolved out minerals.
Water cont.
The Discontinuity interval (in m) is selected and defined by spans of core of similar rock mass
appearance, and needs to be matching RQD interval for Fracture Frequency calculation.
Discontinuity - drillcore
Discontinuity cont.
Ori Ref Position:
Reference line position, either along the (T)op of the hole or the (B)ottom of the hole. Denotes the reference line
position over the hole being logged

B Bottom, reference line position: along the (B)ottom of the hole
T Top, reference line position: along the (T)op of the hole

Ori Reliability :
Orientation Reliability Rating denotes the reliability of the orientation data over the specified interval. Where
R3 is selected, beta is not required. Alpha is required for all reliability options where discontinuities are logged.

R1 Traverse line: solid reference line with +2 ori marks
R2 Extrapolated line: reference line dashed; 1 ori mark; broken zone present
R3 No measure: no reference line marked
nl Field not logged
na Field not applicable
Discontinuity cont.
Jn - Joint Sets:

The number of sets is a critical parameter as it gives a guide as to the blocky nature of the ground.

This field is compulsory. Each distinctive set is counted based on its alpha angle to core axis and beta angle where
available and joint characteristics. Orientations for similar joint sets are never perfectly aligned; hence joints that are within
10 of each other can be treated as the same set as long as they display the same joint fill and surface characteristics.

mnf Massive, no or few joints
js1 One joint set
jr1 One joint set plus random
js2 Two joint sets
jr2 Two joint sets plus random
js3 Three joint sets
jr3 Three joint sets plus random
js4 Four or more joint sets, random, heavily jointed, 'sugar cube'
mnf Massive, no or few joints
cre Crushed rock, earth like
nl field not logged
na field not applicable
Discontinuity cont.

Microfractures are small scale discontinuities in
the rock that have not experienced significant
movement or contain visible infill material.
They may form a network of fractures visible
only as wet traces on partially dry core.
Microfractures may open during drilling or with
core handling but are closed when in situ. This
information is important for caving studies.
This field is not compulsory.
Partially dry core indicating microfractures
microfracturing (1-3/m)

Very Low Rare microfracturing (1-3/m) LOW: Microfractures present
with no interconnectivity
Low Microfractures present with no interconnectivity (3-10/m) (3-10/m)

Moderate Abundant interconnected microfractures (10-50/m)

MODERATE: Abundant
Intense Very abundant interconnected microfracturing (>50/m) interconnected microfractures
nl field not logged
na field not applicable
INTENSE: Very abundant
interconnected microfracturing.
Discontinuity cont.

This field represents the number of veinlets per meter of core

over the interval being logged.


Vn0 0 veinlets/m

Vn1 1-3 veinlets/m

Carbonate veinlets in silica albite altered monzonite
Vn2 3-10 veinlets/m

Vn3 10-50 veinlets/m

Vn4 >50 veinlets/m

nl field not logged

na field not applicable

The veinlets are distinguished from veins by their irregular patterns.

Veins are more planar and continuous across the core than veinlets.
Veinlets are similar to microfractures but contain a thin veneer of
infill such as epidote, calcite etc. Chlorite veinlets in propylitic monzonite
Discontinuity Interlock & Total Fracture Count

Interlock: Interlocking of rockmass structure


Very tight structure, undisturbed rock mass, tightly

IL1 interlocked

IL2 Tight structure, undisturbed, jointed rock mass

IL3 Disturbed/open, folded/faulted with angular

Poorly interlocked, broken with angular and
IL4 rounded blocks

nl field not logged

na field not applicable

Total Fracture Count:

Number of natural breaks/fractures found in interval. Any fractures induced by
drilling and core handling, or those partially intersecting the core are excluded
from the calculation. To be capped at 30 fractures/m. If the core is rubblized, it
should be noted as such in the log.
Discontinuity cont. - Set 1-4 data collection
Set 1is the most geotechnically significant/dominant structure in the defined interval. Properties of the
Set 2, Set 3 and Set 4 needs to be input using rock characteristic similar as in Set 1.

Type: Structure type is the primary identifier of the type and nature of the structure being recorded.
* The weakest set should be described as Set 1.

J Joint: Discontinuities appearing at cracks or fractures in the rock along which there has been no or little displacement
V Vein: joints, diaclases or other types of discontinuities sealed with one or more filling materials
Foliation Planes: discontinuities present in metamorphic folded rocks associated with the bedding of the original
FP rock/laminated minerals/preferential orientation
Schistosity Planes: foliation planes in schists or other schistose rocks, associated with the presence of planar minerals,
SP usually micas
B Bedding: discontinuities determined by changes in one or more factors during the sedimentation of bedded rocks
Fault: discontinuity associated with a shear failure plane that shows clear signs of differential movements in the rock
F mass, on either of their walls
Shear Zone: zone associated to a fault (or delimited by two faults), containing blocks with relative displacements, but no
SZ visible faults
FZ Fault Zone: zone where a group of parallel faults occurs with little space between them
C Contact: surface along which one rock unit touches another- depositional, intrusive or fault contacts
BZ Broken Zone: A zone of disturbed/broken ground along the core
DSC Core Discing: Geotechnical features such as stress induced core discing. Refer to figure xx
nl Field not logged
na Field not applicable
Discontinuity cont. examples of Fault Zone
Discontinuity cont. example of Fault Zone
Discontinuity cont. Discing & Fault

Fault with displacement

Example of core discing

Discontinuity cont.- Set 1-4 data collection
No Defects per Set:
Number of defects that represent the corresponding set within the interval length.

Avg Spacing (m):

Average spacing estimate between defects of each corresponding set within the interval length measured along
the core axis [m]. This is an optional field depending on whether detailed structural logging is completed.

Core Position:
Structure-Core Position. This refers to the position of the structure surface angle being measured with
respect to (T)op of the Bottom stick or the (B)ottom of the Top stick looking down the hole. May vary
depending on which core stick is used to measure beta so required for each set (refer to section on
measurements with a Goniometer)

A default nl entry is applied. T should only be entered if the Top of the bottom stick is used and beta is not
corrected by 180 degrees.

B Bottom, Structure-Core Position: (B)ottom of the Top stick looking down the hole
T Top, Structure-Core Position: (T)op of the Bottom stick looking down the hole
nl field not logged
na field not applicable
Discontinuity cont. - Set 1-4 data collection

Alpha angle:
The smaller of the two angles between the maximum
dip vector of the logged structure and the long core
axis. Actual measurements are required within an
accuracy of 10 degrees. Alpha angles range from 0 to

Beta angle:
Looking down the hole, the clockwise angle from the
bottom-of-hole line to the bottom of the ellipse of the
measured structure. Again actual measurements are
required within an accuracy of 10 degrees. Beta
angles range from 0 to 360.
Discontinuity cont. - Set 1-4 data collection
Describes the nature of the wall of the discontinuity from core exposure.

rou Rough or irregular - a surface that has a rough sand papery feel to it when rubbed
smo Smooth - the equivalent of a table top feel to it when rubbed
sli Slickensided the equivalent of a highly polished surface feel to it when rubbed
gou Gouge filled with clay minerals - assumed to be thick enough to prevent rock wall contact for the Q classification system.
crz Sandy, gravelly or crushed zone - assumed to be thick enough to prevent rock wall contact for the Q classification system.
nl field not logged
na field not applicable

Shape field describes the shape of the wall of the discontinuity from core exposure.


S Stepped, discontinuous joints

U Undulating

P Planar

nl field not logged

na field not applicable
Discontinuity cont. - Set 1-4 data collection

The type of fracture infill. Infill is the material present on the surface of a discontinuity.


F Friction materials: sand, silt calcite (non-softening): Ja=4 (part wall contact)

H Hard cohesive materials: compacted filling of clay, chlorite, talc: Ja=6 (pwc)

S Soft cohesive materials: medium to low over consolidated clay, chlorite, talc: Ja=8 (pwc)

C Swelling clay materials: filling material exhibits swelling properties (montmorillonite): Ja=10 (pwc)

N No infill present

nl Field not logged

na Field not applicable

Discontinuity cont. - Set 1-4 data collection

The degree of fracture wall alteration.


"Healed Wall: None or tightly healed or hard, non-softening impermeable, unweathered filling (eg. quartz, epidote): Ja=0.75
non (joint wall contact)"
Can't scratch with a knife
"Fresh Wall: Unaltered joint walls with unweathered surface staining only, no coating or filling: Ja=1 (jwc)"
una Can scratch with a knife
"Slight Alteration: Slightly altered or weathered joint walls, hard mineral coating, may include small clay free sandy particles:
sli Ja=2 (jwc)"
Can scratch with finger nail
Friction Coating: Silty or sandy clay coating, small clay fraction (low friction coating, non-softening): Ja=3 (jwc)"
mod Can't indent with finger nail
"Cohesive Coating: Soft infill including low friction clay, platy micas, talc, gypsum, carbonates and graphite (softening): Ja=4
sof (jwc)"
Can indent with finger nail

crz "Bands of disintegrated or crushed rock and clay (no wall contact), Ja=5 (F fill type), Ja=8 (H), Ja=10 (S), Ja=12 (C)"

cly "Thick, continuous zones or bands of clay (nwc), Ja=13 (H filltype), Ja=17 (S), Ja=20 (C)"

nl Field not logged

na Field not applicable

Discontinuity cont. - Set 1-4 data collection

Fill Thickness:

The width is the thickness of the infill where infill is material present on the surface of a discontinuity
[mm]. This can be an estimated value for each joint set.

Note, in the Q system this is into:

t <= 2mm (Joint wall contact)
t = 2 - 5mm (wall rock contact after 10cm shear)
t > 5mm (no wall rock contact after 10cm shear)

Geotechnical properties of the Set 2, Set 3 and Set 4 needs to be

input using drop down menus, and rock characteristic similar as
in Set 1.
PTStructure = Point Structure

The structure table is designed to capture major discontinuities such as

shears, faults, intrusive contacts, bedding, and veins.

Geotechnical logging must include interpretation and

identification of major structures likely to form a discrete
failure surface.
Structures are captured as points along the core axis,
together with a logged thickness of the structure.
Unlike the Discontinuity sheet, structures are individually
logged and are not categorised as sets over a specified
PTStructure = Point Structure examples

Diverse Point Structures

PTStructure cont.

* Field codes utilised are described under the Discontinuity sheet.

Additional observations, and descriptive comments on the logged interval.
Comments should complement but not duplicate your logging. Details such as
the criteria for defining the interval can be detailed here.
The actual mineral forming structure fills can also be identified here.

This sheet captures any validation completed on the core logging. Quality control
of geotechnical logging, as with all logging data initially lies with the data logger,
i.e. to run through the log for any typographic errors or out of the ordinary

The lead geotechnical engineer should specify the required detail of logging and
complete a final quality check of the data.

Validation fields captured should include comments outlining how the validation
was undertaken (photos, core tray) together with the name of the engineer who
completed the validation.
Data entered via the sheets is displayed in the Graphical Log and vice versa. Data can
also be entered via the graphical log. Lithology and Alteration sheets are exported from
the main database and are read-only.

Colour Coding implemented in the

graphical log
Structure Orientation
The orientation (both dip and dip direction) of the structure is measured using a clino compass. It is
important to make sure that the compass has been set to Telfer mine grid and not magnetic grid.
Telfer Mine grid is 45 positive offset from Magnetic North. To take a Dip and Dip direction
measurement of the structure, you first need to level the compass on the structure. This is done by
holding the compass flap on the structure and then moving the base around until the leveling bubble
is in the middle of the circle, then hold down the locking button. This will release the needle enabling
the needle to freely spin and aligning with magnetic north. Once the needle has stopped spinning,
release the locking button to lock the needle in place.
The dip of the structure is measured on the side of the compass; an example of this can be
seen in figure bellow. This angle will be in the range of 0-90.

Dip Measurement (30)

Structure Orientation cont.

Dip Direction angle is read from the face of the compass for one of the two needles
Red or Black. The dip measurement point on the side of the compass indicates which
needle to read from either red of black. Once you know which needle to read, read the
dip direction from the face of the compass.

Compass side

Compass Face
Core Orientation alpha & beta angles

Joint Sets - distribution relative to core axis


The piece of core is inserted into the goniometer through

the circular hole in the faceplate. The structure surface
for measurement is pushed to the back of the goniometer
and the core stick rotated so that the hinged flap is pulled
down to rest upon the surface. The angle is read from
the position of the flap relative to the graduations on the
side of the box. The angle is read from the position of
the core orientation line relative to the graduations
around the circular hole in the faceplate.

Plexiglass Goniometer
Goniometer cont.

Goniometer Alpha & Beta angles measurement Goniometer - Alpha angle measurement
Goniometer cont.

Measurement of and angles using the Goniometer

(reference SRK Consulting)
The goniometer is a device which assists in rapid
measurement of and angles of open structures
within drillcore. It is not suitable for measuring the
orientations of closed or cemented structures in
which case a linear protractor of appropriate size for
the core diameter should be used.
Depending on the condition of the core on either side
of structure in question, the surface on either the top
or bottom piece core may be measured. Therefore,
when measuring joint orientation using the
goniometer, it is important to note whether the top or
bottom surface of the joint was used for the
measurements, as the readings are a mirror image
around the 90 - 270 line.
Goniometer Top & Bottom Surface Convention
Hierarchy of structures

Hierarchy #2


Hierarchy #1 Fault Hierarchy #3


Spatial relationship between hierarchy of structures

Example of Hierarchy of structure

Hierarchy two
internal fault plane

Hierarchy one

Example of a hierarchy one and two